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Flag of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara
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Ancient Kartvelian people
History of Georgia

The Adjarians (Georgian: აჭარლები, Ačarlebi) are an ethnographic group of Georgians that mostly live in Adjara in south-western Georgia. They speak a dialect of Georgian.

The Adjarians have their own territorial unit, the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, founded on July 16, 1921 as the Adjara ASSR. After years of post-Soviet stalemate, the region was completely brought within the framework of the Georgian state in 2004 while retaining its autonomous status.

Adjarian settlements are also found in the Georgian provinces of Guria, Kvemo Kartli, and Kakheti, as well as in several areas of neighbouring Turkey.


The Adjarians speak Adjarian, a Georgian dialect related to the one spoken in the neighbouring northern province of Guria, but with a number of Turkish loanwords. Adjarian also possesses many features in common with the Zan languages (Mingrelian and Laz), which are sisters to Georgian and are included in the Kartvelian, or South Caucasian, group.


Many Adjarians converted to Islam in the 16th and 17th centuries when the Ottomans ruled over southwestern Georgian lands.

The Georgian population of Adjara had been generally known as Muslim Georgians until the 1926 Soviet census listed them as Adjarians, separate from the rest of Georgians, counting 71,426 of them.[1] In subsequent censuses (1939–1989) they were listed with other Georgians, as no official Soviet census asked about religion. In the 1920s, the suppression of religion and compulsory collectivization led to armed resistance against Communist authorities by Adjarians. Following suppression of the disturbances, many Adjarians were deported to Central Asia.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the re-establishment of Georgian independence accelerated the Christianization of Adjarians, especially among the young.[2] However, a significant number of Adjarians, particularly in and around Khulo, remain Sunni Muslims. According to estimates recently published by the Department of Statistics of Adjara, 63% are Georgian Orthodox Christians, and 30% Muslim.[3]


Main article: History of Adjara

Famous Ajarians[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Chveneburi, ethnic Georgians in Turkey many of whom are of Adjarian heritage.


  1. ^ Lorimer, Frank (1946). "The Population of the Soviet Union: History and Prospects" (PDF). 
  2. ^ George Sanikidze and Edward W. Walker (2004), Islam and Islamic Practices in Georgia. Berkeley Program in Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies. University of California, Berkeley Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.
  3. ^ (Georgian) Autonomous Republic of Adjara, Department of Statistics.


  • Nugzar Mgeladze (Translated by Kevin Tuite). Ajarians. World Culture Encyclopedia. Accessed on September 1, 2007.